Last night for reasons I don’t recall I had the occasion to “Google” socialism. It’s a pretty responsible definition .
Wikipedia, also, has a convoluted but responsible definition, “Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management of enterprise, including the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.”
An image search of “Socialism,” however, brought up propaganda.
Socialism is NOT totalitarianism, and it’s not Communism. In my little world small-scale socialism is everywhere. One of the most successful business models in rural areas is the co-op. A couple examples from the San Luis Valley? Our rural electric company is a co-op, the local bookstore is a co-op, the store selling farming equipment is a co-op.
This disconnect annoys me. Here we are with many active socialist systems helping maintain the very vulnerable economy of the San Luis Valley. One of the most consistent, long-term employers in the Valley is La Puente. Here is the mission statement of this organization:
La Puente is our community’s response to address the effects of poverty by providing a safety net of services, where individuals and families get what they need to stabilize, heal, strengthen, and ultimately thrive.
This organization runs at least 3 businesses at a profit and profits are returned to the organization. BUT it’s kept afloat by support from donations from people in the Valley, foundations and tax dollars. It is socialism in action. Of course, this is VOLUNTARY socialism. No one HAS to join these co-ops. We’re not taxed for their existence.
Socialism in the United States — for which we’re taxed — includes schools, roads, infrastructure, emergency services, things which have been deemed so essential to the people that the government (which is WE the people) has determined that taxation should pay for them. My intensely, ideologically NON-socialist world has inflicted us with a one cent sales tax for the construction of a better exhibition and rodeo complex than we have now. We need it. The existing facility is really ugly and, some say, unsafe. The two main money-raising events in my little town are the Monte Vista Crane Festival and the Ski-Hi Stampede Fair and Rodeo — both held at the Ski-Hi Complex. The community voted for the tax and now the City Council is soliciting volunteers to monitor the money that comes in.
When I see Bernie up there, turning red and gesturing like a mad man yelling “Socialism!” I want to shout back, “Nobody knows what you’re talking about! The people whose votes you need think you’re a radical leftist commie scum!” His cluelessness irks me. Many people in places like this, people who voted for Trump, die-hard Republicans, also believe socialism is, always and inevitably, communist totalitarianism. Bernie doesn’t seem to understand we’re not involved in ideological warfare. It’s far more concrete than was the Cold War. He has to get votes. Having (as he does) Trump’s support should make his candidacy very suspect to voters. It’s, to me, a huge red-flag, “I want to run against Bernie because he won’t win.”
Watching the Democratic debates (for the second time) was also annoying. I think, by now, we know what they all stand for. What we don’t know is whether any of them have a stragedy for being Offal. A red-faced man of eighty screaming “Socialism!” is not the way to do it.